History of Redemption: Blog Post 24
The Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. - John 3:19-20 NASB
We have a rat living in our garage. It is not a pet. It is my fault that he moved in. A few weeks ago I left a box of dog treats open in the garage. The rat snuck in through a gap in our garage door that I had neglected to fix. He must have taken the gap, as well as the box of food, as a sign of our hospitality toward his species. We feel confident we have corrected this misconception of his by leaving out several rat traps around the garage (we have also secured all of the dog food, and covered the hole in the garage door opening). Unfortunately, rat traps do not actually capture rats that are the size of a small dog. So, the rat remains. We have named him Sneaky.
Occasionally, I will open the door to the garage and turn on the lights, and Sneaky will quickly scamper into an, as yet, unidentified hiding spot. As I read today’s scripture, I thought about Sneaky. He hates the light. He runs from it, for fear that his deeds will be exposed. And I am reminded that before I came to faith in Christ, I was that rat. I sinned in darkness for fear that my deeds would be exposed. I rejected the Light. I rejected Jesus Christ, because I loved my sin and I loved the darkness I was living in. I had established an elaborate factory of idols in my heart, and that factory was in a perpetual state of darkness. And I wished for it to stay that way. My name was Sneaky, and I was the rat in God’s garage.
My view of the role of apologetics has recently been transformed after reading several insightful authors on this topic. I used to think that in order to win someone to faith in Christ, you had to “convince” them of the reasonableness of Christianity. Christianity is in fact the most reasonable truth there is. However, more often, it is a person’s heart that is keeping them from coming to the Light. Non-believers do not come to consider the claims of Christianity with a heart that is a blank slate. On the contrary, they come (as we all did) with sin stained hearts that love the darkness, because in their hearts, they know that accepting Jesus Christ, will mean rejecting that sin and idolatry and darkness which they have so grown to love. John 3 does not tell us that men “trusted” the darkness, or that they “believed” that darkness was superior to light. It tell us that men “loved” the darkness. It is not so often a matter of the mind, as it is a matter of the heart. We need to take this into consideration as we witness to non-believers, seeking to understand what are the idols of their hearts, which they love, and which are keeping them from coming to the Light. And as we expose those idols, we pray that they will get even a glimpse of the Light, and will recognize It as infinitely more beautiful than the darkness.
Ultimately, we believe that “salvation belongs to the Lord” (Psalm 3:8). We believe that when a person’s heart finds Jesus Christ as a more worthy treasure than the darkness they were living in, that this work is carried out by the Holy Spirit. However, we are called to “walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person” (Colossians 4:5-6). It is God alone who can turn men’s hearts back to Him. And He has given us the privilege of partnering with the Him in this awesome work, which will ultimately bring glory to Him, who alone is worthy of glory.
“For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” - 2 Corinthians 4:6.